By Sanjeev Relia
On 09 April 2105, the newspaper The Times of India* carried a news item which caught a lot of attention. The paper reported that the Controller of Defence Accounts (officers) website at Pune had been hacked into and sensitive data about Indian Army officers had been stolen. A quick check of the web page showed that the hacker had defaced the website too.
Hacking for gathering cyber intelligence is a potent tool which nation states have started using freely these days. Though the investigations about how the hack occurred are still on and the MoD hasn’t given any official statement, the CDA hack seems to be a handy work of some Pakistani Hacker group acting on behalf of their Army. All armies rely on human intelligence and pay lakhs of rupees to keep track of senior officers, units and formations of the adversary. With one master stroke, this hacker has provided all this information to Pak army by breaking into the website of CDA.
In this particular case it is still not known if the hacker has only stolen data or even worse – corrupted sensitive data. In case data has been altered or corrupted, it will take considerable amount of time for the original data to be restored. Whatever be the case, neither of the scenarios are a good situation. Security of sensitive data of our defence personal is vital. Such hacks not only result in loss of critical information but also have an opportunity costs, result in service disruptions and reduced trust online. Of course there is reputational damage also associated with such hacks.
Most of us in India are poorly prepared for protecting our information against such new methods of surveillance and espionage which have emerged in the last decade. Governments, businesses, organisations, individual owners and other users of cyberspace must assume responsibility and take steps to enhance the security of the cyberspace against such malicious cyber activities. Cyber espionage is only going to increase in the times to come. We therefore need to prepare ourselves against the onslaught of the technology and prevent it from invading our private lives.
TOI: Army officers panic as hackers steal secret data – Army officers panic as hackers steal secret data. Article available at